Landlord Focus: What is fair ‘wear and tear’?

Surveying_Blog_PostGeneral ‘wear and tear’ is a fact of life when you are letting out properties. Things can sometimes become a little blurry when it comes to knowing what should be covered by you as a landlord, and what are the tenant’s responsibilities.

So what forms of damage can be considered ‘reasonable’ and naturally occurring? It is important to understand that as a landlord, you are not entitled to be compensated in a way that sees the property improved at the tenant’s expense.

Here’s a few helpful tips for both parties…

The landlord

Should expect to emulsion the walls and ceilings every three to five years, and look at the condition of any soft furnishings. Everything within a property has a limited lifespan, so you must expect to replace/renew things on an annual basis, such as:

  • Inexpensive door mats
  • Any kitchenware you have provided, such as plastic utensils, chopping boards, oven gloves
  • Ironing board covers
  • Lampshades – if they are the cheaper paper ones
  • replacing the bath sealant and making sure it is all water tight


Every three years you would most probably expect to renew items such as;

  • Shower curtains
  • kitchen bins
  • Toilet seats
  • Any mattress protectors, bed linen etc.


Of course these lists are not exclusive, and it all depends on whether you rent your property as part or fully furnished, or even non-furnished as to what will apply to you.

The Tenant

From any good tenant you should expect;

  • If something can be cleaned, it should be. Cleaning issues are never treated as wear and tear
  • The property and its contents, and any exterior areas should be maintained to the standard set out in the initial agreed tenancy. A few minor marks and scrapes would be viewed as wear and tear, however and heavy marks should incur a penalty.
  • If items, you have supplied are broken or light bulbs are blown these should all be replaced by your tenant before they move out.
  • Furniture damage – a few minor scuffs can be deemed as wear and tear, heat marks, water marks or any major damage caused by tenant negligence will be deemed as a chargeable issue.


It’s important when assessing what kind of damage your property’s furnishings have undergone to take into account the length of the current tenancy. It seems obvious that the longer the tenancy has been, the more natural wear there will be to the property.

However, you should also consider, as an example, how much wear a carpet in your own home will show after one, two or three years. Then, consider what the condition was when the tenant first moved in; was it brand new or had it already endured several tenancies? Take these factors into account for your final evaluation.